What a difference a few weeks makes.
When Dewey’s budget and finance committee last met in February, the town was looking at a budget shortfall of nearly $650,000.
Less than a month later, the town is still looking at a shortfall, but it’s now sitting at $63,000.
During a committee meeting March 2, Steve Huse, a committee member who was hired by the town get through this year’s budgetary cycle, said the budget is conservative looking at expenses and aggressive for revenue. Dewey’s fiscal year runs April 1 to March 31.
As projected, the town is expected to bring in $3.28 million in revenue and have $3.34 million in expenses, including a proposed across-the-board wage increase of 2 percent for employees.
More than half the difference in the two projections, $321,500, was made up on the revenue side. The projected transfer tax revenue saw the largest revenue increase, from $515,000 to $600,000. The year-to-date transfer tax revenue for the current fiscal year is $631,000.
Another $100,000 in revenue came in the form of a $50,000 increase in parking permits and building-permit fees. The $610,000 of projected revenue from parking permits is equal to the year-to-date for the current fiscal year, while the $300,000 projected from building permits is $50,000 less than the year-to-date.
Nearly another $100,000, comes in the form of revenue from Dewey Beach Enterprises. This is not new revenue, said Huse, but instead missed as a revenue source during the February projections.
As for expenses, there’s no money for dune crossing mats, which has been estimated to cost the town $35,000; and the budget for lawsuit legal fees was reduced by $250,000 reduction. Other reductions include $70,000 less in the rainy day fund, and $40,000 less for beach and event marketing.
Too late for next year’s budget, Huse said that business license fees haven’t been raised in 11 years. By law, he said, the fees need to equal what it takes to regulate businesses, but he said, there’s no denying costs for the town have gone up over the past decade.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to send the proposed town council. As of March 5, council’s agenda for a meeting scheduled includes a discussion and possible vote to approve the budget.